With Okanagan Pride week events fully underway, as are the preparations to host on of the most popular and well respected drag queens all of the Pacific North West, Joan-E.
Joan-E, best known for her quick wit, banter and flirtatious attitude, comes from the creative imagination of entertainer, Robert Kaiser. Robert has been performing on stage and at events since 1990.
This weekend Joan-E will bring her wonderful sarcasm, frocks, boas and high-heels to Okanagan Pride, to join in the celebrations of the landmark achievements that have been made this year.
This year for the first time in its history, the City of Kelowna has proudly raised the iconic rainbow flag at City Hall and proclaimed Pride Week in Kelowna. This is a momumental for the Okanagan’s LGBT community because the previous Mayor, Walter Grey, refused to endorse all Pride celebrations.
“I am so pleased that the City of Kelowna has taken this great action,” said Joan-E. ‘The symbol of the Pride Flag over City Hall may literally save lives. Coming out is one of the hardest things any young man or woman will ever do. It is even harder in smaller cities or towns where there are smaller LGBTQ Communities and less visible Queer images and role models.”
In larger urban centres there are more resources for the LGBT community and they tend to be tolerant and more liberal.
“People can feel alone and may also think that they are the only ones who feel the way they do,” Joan-E explained. “For a young person coming out, the Rainbow flag at City Hall is HOPE. When communities stand up to be noticed and counted it sends a strong message that we are everywhere and that we are not going away.”
With Vancouver Pride, one of the larger Pride celebrations in North America, just wrapping up two weeks earlier, Joan-E is looking forward to celebrating Pride in the Okanagan.
“It is my privilege to have been asked to come perform and be part of Okanagan Pride,” said Joan-E. “I only hope I can do my job properly and put smiles on faces. As much as I love big city Pride, it will be amazing to have everyone from the community in one facility celebrating together. Oh, and I’ve decided to fall in love this weekend!! Hey, a girl can hope right?”
This weekend the community is encouraged to come show their pride, and to celebrate the diversity and variety of life and culture in the Okanagan. This the perfect opportunity for members of the community to demonstrate their openness, tolerance and supportive attitude during all Pride Week activities.
“I am honored to be amongst the LGBTQ community of the Okanagan and their supporters,” Joan-E explained. “I am proud of each and every one of them and proud of their accomplishments. I want them to know I think they are Brave. Anyone can walk hand in hand with his or her same sex partner in the Castro in San Francisco or on Davie Street in Vancouver. Those who do so in Kelowna, Cranbrook or Vernon who fight the hard fight… They get my props!”
As a leader in the LGBT community, Joan-E is sure to leave a positive impression at this year’s Okanagan Pride celebrations.
“I look forward to seeing old friends and making many more new ones!” said Joan-E “Happy pride!”
Joan-E will be performing Saturday afternoon at the family-friendly festival in Kelowna City Park and Saturday night at the Coast Capri Hotel for the Pride Dance Party.
Joan-E’s notable achievements include:
- Host of the Vancouver Pride parade for the past 12 years.
- Awarded Imperial Crown Princess, Entertainer of the Year, Empress XXVIII and Citizen of the Year in Vancouver’s LGBT community.
- Drag Queen of the Year by WE magaznine
- Hero award from Xtra West
- Friend Indeed Award from The Community
- 2010 Jose Honours award
- US State Congressional award
- Golden Jubilee Award of Merit from HRH Queen Elizabeth II
- Inducted into the Queer Hall of Fame in 2009